January 24, 2013

Review: Nebador Book Six - Star Station - J. Z. Colby

The Nebador Series by J. Z. Colby is probably one of my favorites, now. Right along Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Mists of Avalon, the Graal Trilogy, The Vampire Chronicles and some others, there sit the 6 books of the Nebador Series.

As the author himself says, this isn't the end of the story, but it is a great resting point. Our characters have made their way from a backwards little medieval planet's lowest of the low, to the honored Nebador Transport Service, where they are the crew of a small deep space response ship.

4 former slaves and one inkeeper's daughter form this crew that has travelled further away from their home world than anyone there will probably go and are now bonded beyond anything they thought they would, specially the slaves, who've always had a deep issue with trust, trusting people isn't something a slave does, as they are on the world on their own, being traded around and bossed around.

Mati, with her bad knee, is on the edge of a new life. It's hard and it's new. It's more of a change than traveling all across the universe, to her, since it's her body, it's something she always lived with, and it's going to change everything she does and is. Not who she is, but the way her being interacts with the world.

Kibi has to learn to interact with the rest of the universe. Understand what is appropriate and when, but also, be confident that she has value and that there is a job for her and her feelings, which are as valuable as other skills. I think Kibi is the character that bothered me the most all through the books, because she doesn't SEEM valuable, her skills don't seem important, like the others. She has no definite skill, math, language, anything, and yet, she is Ilika's girl and that gives you the feeling that she was on the crew from the start. But, the thing is, she has the strongest intuition and she can sense people's feelings, she can understand people and relate to them. I couldn't really see that on the first books, probably because I am one of those people that can "feel people" but can't understand how those feelings can be a skill. Much like Kibi :)

All of the characters learn very valuable lessons, each to their own, and make new friends, all very different people - Ursines, Birds, Lizards, balls of light/energy and Monkey-Mammals! And we get to understand more of Nebador. So far, all we got were glimpses and visions, promisses, but now we finally understand more about it, like the food - everyone gets what they need, no cost, just take it, but not more than you need (you can, however, get stuffed from good food now and then ;) ), people are polite and expect you to be nice as well. And, importantly, people help each other - no matter what they do, or how important they are. Actually, there is no concept of important people or tasks, only different responsabilities.

Original cover art commissioned to artist Rachael Hedges
Mati and Sata have a big lesson to learn, and so do Boro and Rini, who are in different stages of a relationship with the girls. After they make a huge and very serious mistake that has terrible consequences, they are "sentenced" to go through the "Great Transformation" and help a whole civilization to survive, a lot over their shoulders, by living and learning. But I won't spoil, since that is one of the parts to love ;)

Kibi's test of the heart, as mentioned on the summary, is one I would probably fail myself. Damn licking on the neck. J.Z., Nebador's author, writes with such emotion and so many details that I get shivers to this day. After that, she puts her feet on a path she must take, specially to be in the Nebador Transport Service, along with her friends and her lover, but that is hard and complicated, making her face several fears and issues.

I love Nebador and I would read 100 books on this series. But we have definitely reached a stopping point, if needed. No other book before this has left me with such an accomplishment feeling, you can see there may be more coming, but you can also stop here and know that the story has been told, of the path a small team of young adults took from the lowest of the low to the stars, from poverty to respected equals to the whole universe. There is more to learn, but now they are well on their way.

I reccomend the whole Nebador series to anyone who likes reading, learning and loves to read good writing, great character development and awesome plot.

Find out where you can buy Book 6 - Star Station in several formats: here.
Read my reviews for Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4 and Book 5.

January 14, 2013

Review: Inheritance - Christopher Paolini

So is this the ending of the Inheritance Cycle?
I must confess, I'm disapointed. Sure, Christopher has grown, but I believe his story hasn't. His writing style may have, I wouldn't know, this is the first book I read on the native language, so I can't tell how much the translator has helped him before, but I actually thought the story got... thinner? Shallow, I guess. And, at the same time, simply failed to address most of the possible depths in it.

I simply hated that the author has decided to ignore some of the mysteries and subplots. It just seems to me like he put them there in the first place because he wasn't sure how to solve an issue and in the end he just didn't have the answer to it. Like Angela. Or even Sloan. Or that hermit guy from book 1 or 2, who aparently taught Angela.

I don't want to spoil anything, but Angela's last scene, where I was hoping some light would be shred - I even had a few theories to who she was and why she was so, let's say, peculiar - but NOTHING. Just some watered scene, very badly done and really awkward where you could simply see that something was meant to be said but simply wasn't said.

The Vault of Souls was pretty obvious too, predictable. Well, the first half was, anyways, the second half (the one they come back later to get) was... Decently obvious but not that badly predictable. Murtagh was so obvious it hurt, although the reason for the change wasn't, I think. Nasuada's part was pretty good, I thought that was one of the best parts in the book, since everyone else's plot was annoyingly predictable.

I mean, geez, who would've thought (SPOILER ALERT) Murtagh would go against Galbatorix, Nasuada would become Queen, Arya would become Queen, finally show some feelings for Eragon and would also become a rider and that Saphira would also fall for that dragon? Who'd have thought Eragon would find Eldunarí's to guide him on that Vault of Souls and that Roran would become a big man commander and win himself some land/castle/whatever...? Oh yeah ANYONE who read the damn books. No, really. The freaking plot, man!

I did like some things, of course. I liked the battle against Galbatorix. I liked the way the Dwarves and Urgals were solved in the end, I really liked the Snalgí and the grubs that go Skree-Skree XD For the cute noise factor, obviously.

Also, the recovery of knowledge, I loved that the author took some time to mention that not only treasures were recovered but also books and the knowledge that might fade away otherwise.

Something else that frustrated me was the whole control the magic thing. It's very creepy and censorship like. I can SEE that it's like "you do whatever you want unless it hurts others" but it's still kind of creepy. Even if we have laws for that "normally" (as in, not magically), somehow the way it was put on the book was very censorship-like. I don't care if it makes sense, nothing the bad-guy-Galbatorix says can be used after he is gone. Just NO.

Overall, it was very weak book, with some of the best chapters happening on Nasuada's POV, even if the whole nail-description thing was annoyingly useless. Nasuada's voice is different from the others, more reasonable. She IS human, but she is strong and certain, not desperate or bossed around. Roran is an amazing character aswell, but he's not so sure of himself and that gets a bit annoying, he's the sort of guy who will do what has to be done, but doesn't really want that kind of thing, doesn't really believe he can do it. And I like my characters believable but strong.

I'd like to see more of Murtagh, he really is a character with many facets, an interesting one, really. Eragon is too... Goody. Sure, we all love the good guy, but being good all the time is REALLY boring. Learn to deal with stuff, grow some balls, show some nerve! HIT PEOPLE DAMNIT.

I didn't dislike the book, unlike what may seem by now. But I just couldn't get myself to like it, the first 2/3 of the book were boring battles, like no one could stand. Sure, Dras-Leona was fun, while it lasted and I looked forward to Angela's scenes all the time, same as Elva, who was always interesting, but none of the battles had the Bernard Cornwell kind of quality and since I always have a hard time visualizing battle scenes and Cornwell is basically the only author who writes battles in ways I understand, I mostly skimmed through the battles here.

I still want to know what Angela said to the priest in Dras-Leona, where she said he should know her name before dying - I'm betting she's the Soothsayer - and I really wanted to know more about her and the Hermit we saw in previous books - who are they and how do they know so much magic? Everyone respects Angela so bad, but no one really knows her, so what? Who? I hate that it's not going to be mentioned. Also, the belt thingy that Eragon loses... He simply loses it. It disappears. And that's it?! What's the purpose of it disappearing? It doesn't serve any purpose on the plot, so what's the use? I don't GET it, why to add something to the story if it serves nothing?

And, again, Angela. I can't get enough of saying that - What about Angela, Angela, Angela?  Also, there were a woman and a child that Eragon blessed on book 2 or 3... What about them? They felt like they were important, that they would show up later. And then nothing. I keep thinking if the author forgot, if he simply didn't know what to do with them or just had no plans and thought no one would notice. Puhlease!

Overall, it wasn't a bad book. But it was definitely below average and shallow. The plot was barely solved, in the most cliché way possible and with a whole lot of Deus ex Machina (or whatever you spell it) where things simply get solved way too fast and way too easy for the drama of 4 books.

You can buy Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle) at Amazon.

January 09, 2013

Review: No Exit - Hamilton C. Burger

Hello everyone!

I'm here to talk about No Exit by Hamilton C. Burger, a wonderful Middle Grade book about a group of kids who finds themselves fighting the existing order and trying to get back what's theirs and helping their community all in one run.

We follow the Apple Grove Gang in an adventure - it's the first day of summer, school is out and they're free for several months, to play with their friends but... What if they can't?

Their usual place of fun, the Community Center, is closed down by the mayor and Cliff, Bug's brother, is out of a job at the toll station and the Community Center too, so they have two major issues that they want solved before they can enjoy the summer. But they are just children and what can children do against the mayor and other politicians?

Well, a lot, it seems, with hope and determination. And a little bit of luck too, of course. With a little help from their friends, looks like everything is possible and people can be actually happy.

This book has that Sunday afternoon movie kind of feeling, where children are off to save the world and it seems so much easier and nicer than the real world. Even if the bad guys are evil, sometimes only because they feel like being evil, for money or because they don't like children, they are always defeated and the children are always the ones to do it, on their simple way.

I think that's what I liked about the book and I've been having a hard time putting into words. It is a simple book, with an easy-to-follow plot, characters that are as deep as children can be - not very complicated but very emotional, honest and simply willing to help-, and a lovable "you can be anything you want" kind of mood. It really put me in a great mood that I couldn`t translate and for that I apologize, specially to the author, who has been waiting for the review for months now.

For children looking for a simple big book or adults who just need a break from all the complicated issues in life, to enjoy some childhood simple-ness again, I highly recommend this book.

You can buy No Exit at Amazon. It also has 2 more books on the series, Gold Fever and Amazing Journey.

January 08, 2013

Review: The Blasphemy Tour - Jass Richards

Jass Richards has done it again. As I tell anyone who wants to listen, Jass is a comedy genius, she writes the funniest books and always writes the most believable unbelievable characters and scenes. 

On The Blasphemy Tour, we meet Rev and Dylan, Canadian atheists and thinkers, who travel to the USA after being arrested for vandalizing a Christian billboard (with a quote from the Bible, nothing less: “‘Blessed are they that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stone.’ Psalms 137:9”) at the expenses and invite of the Atheist Consortium to give talks... On religious schools and universities.

I knew this book was a winner when, right at the American border, they manage to get their car disassembled for using the word bomb. Also, when a K9 unit dog kind of eats their special brownies... And dances the Thriller. No, really. When a dog does the Thriller, one simply knows the comedy is assured.

Rev and Dylan are not your ordinary guy and girl protagonists with sexual tension and a romantic interest, at all. They both defy gender roles and they are so smart and opinionated, it's both funny and made to think at the same time. They tour around the USA, on their lime green bus that says "There are no gods. Deal with it." and ends up having to be re-painted often (always sponsored by friendly atheist car paint shops), gather both a friendly group of, well, groupies and a decent amount of threats.
I wanted to give you some quotes from the book, but unfortunately, when I changed my ebook reading software (from Kindle app to something MUCH lighter for my phone), I lost the markings and now I don't have any quotes :(

While The Blasphemy Tour is hilarious, there is the thinking factor. Having recently re-discovered my political and social beliefs, it was very interesting to have the characters discussing them openly and I saw myself nodding almost all through the book. The only thing I disliked was the heavy use of drugs, where I just don't like them or anything that clouds your mind, your judgement. But it's not that big deal, anyways.

One of the scenes that stuck with me the most is when they go to jail... Because they were all dirty (fished XD) they toss themselves at a fountain and Rev takes off her shirt. The cops try to arrest her, but Dylan goes with her, since they were both shirtless and, as it is mentioned later, Rev has had a double mastectomy and has no, well, boobs, making them pretty much the same. The funny part is when they try to make the cops say WHY her bare chest is obscene and his isn't, specially when they lift their shirts to show that they are the same - minus nipples, he has nipples, she doesn't. Either way, think about it! :)

Overall, I highly recommend anything by Jass, specially this one book, which is full of comedy gold and food for thought.

You can buy The Blasphemy Tour on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.
You can read my review of Jass' other work, This will not look good on my resume here.

January 07, 2013


Hello there peoples!


I finally graduated, for those curious, I now have a degree in Marketing.
This is me, graduated. Ignore the watermark
After a whole semester of insane no-time, working on my thesis and working on my graduation process, aside from the end-of-year craze, I got very well deserved two weeks vacations, where I decided to become completelly offline. Remind me, please, NEVER to do that again. I had severe withdrawal issues lol
One week is fine, two, not so much.

So I'm back. I've read 4 books during the two weeks and several more before that, so I'll have plenty of reviews to deliver.

To you, my friends, the authors, I promise you, your books were not lost, I have read them and the review will be published, I just got a bit... Busy.

Lots of love,